The real reason for this second trip to India is to get involved permanently with an organization we met here last time. When we worked with them before, we knew them as SAPID, but now we're on the U.S. team and altogether it's called HEAL.
When we were in India last time, we worked with several local Indian organizations, and all of them were impressive, but HEAL was the one I worked with the most. I studied international development and behavior change in college, and they do everything so right! Their work is so grassroots, so empowerment-based, so self-reliance focused. Meera, the organization's head, is easily among the most amazing people I've ever met.
Without getting too much into the details, HEAL's process is to enter a community and just build relationships for 6 months to a year, which allows them to really gain trust and respect so that programs will actually do good. After a little while, HEAL helps communities organize themselves and decide what they want to work on. HEAL helps communities with health education, access to local resources such as hospitals and government ration cards, sanitation, water, women's empowerment groups, and education.
I could go on and on, but I won't. I will probably post more about my favorite programs later (I'm writing up case studies as we speak). For more info, visit www.thehealfoundation.org - though I believe there will some improvements soon.
|What slums look like before HEAL|
|A HEAL community with gardens and permanent structures|
|A few of the amazing HEAL India ladies (also known as SAPID)|
|A woman's group leader telling us about her community and the improvements they've made|
|A HEAL preschool (I also helped paint this two years ago, so it's extra special)|
|A health clinic for community members to get free medical advice from doctors (and med students)|
|This little lady was adorable and wouldn't leave me alone|
|The mothers here want the world for their babies|
|Playing with the kids|
|This woman found out we were married and proceeded to tell us to have a baby. It's quite a funny story actually :)|
|the HEAL team at a Bollywood movie|